shooting for the stars



I’m not sure why people stand in line at Starbucks anymore, shuffling up to the counter placing their orders one at a time like peasants. It’s all I can do not to shout at them that instead of standing there like lemmings they should be downloading the app, so next time they’ll be able to order in advance and have their drink waiting for them. This is how I imagine Megan Markle gets her Starbucks, and that’s exactly how I feel when I breeze through the store, grabbing my $28 venti I shouldn’t have ordered in the first place but it’s ok because I’m sure I’ll be marrying into royalty any day now.*


There’s a Starbucks directly across the street from the yoga studio I help manage, which keeps me both energized and in poverty. I struggle between limiting my caffeine intake and enthusiastically participating in the daily “challenges” promoted on the app — “order any three mochas before Friday and get 75 stars!” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. “Order any two frappucinos and a muffin by Sunday and get 100 stars!” FRAPPA-ON IT. “Order twenty-eight espressos in the next three minutes and watch your heart explode!” HERE’S MY RENT MONEY LET’S DO THIS.


I’m a sucker for both challenges and reward programs; I’ve never met a loyalty card I didn’t immediately shove into my wallet, and will go out of my way to make sure I complete whatever I need to do to get the “free” reward. And if I can get that “free” reward and skip the line? TAKE MY FIRSTBORN.


No matter how magical the process seems though, until the robots completely take over, humans are still part of the equation. Which means we’ll break it.


“Iced white chocolate mocha mobile order for Travis!”


Shuffling up to the counter, I didn’t want to tell the severely overworked barista that it was actually supposed to be a hot white chocolate mocha, but I also had been looking forward to a hot drink because it was cold out (read: below 75 degrees) and I also feel like you lose half the cup space to the ice and if I’m going to file bankruptcy in my quest for meaningless Starbucks stars, I’d like to do so fully caffeinated. I said none of this, but because he sees me so often and also because I stood there awkwardly for a beat too long, he asked if there was something wrong with my drink.


“It’s supposed to be hot, isn’t it?”chimed in the barista taking her break on a high chair next the counter, also a face I frequently smile at when doing my best Megan Markle impression. “Yeah, but it’s totally fine,” I mumbled, because I’m from the Midwest where we’re taught to be agreeable, even if we’ll complain about you in the car later.


“No, it’s not. You’re always so friendly — take that one and we’ll make you another one.”

What. 250 stars worth of coffee? And all I had to do was be friendly? Amazing. I sat with her while waiting for my second drink and talked about working at Starbucks and how few people make eye contact anymore and how many people throw temper tantrums in public.

When my drink was ready, I thanked her again and as I headed to a corner table to write, I reflexively checked the app to see if my stars hit yet, which is about the time I saw the receipt for the iced white chocolate mocha I ordered.


*I realize this is the second day in a row I’ve mentioned Megan Markle and will do my best to refrain from mentioning her for the rest of this challenge but I’m not making any promises because she married a prince, what have you even done lately?



This is post #8/30 in a 500 Words-A-Day Challenge. Read them all here.